The District of Mission – 80 kilometres east of downtown Vancouver – has started the transformation of the largest private land parcels in the Lower Mainland, a total of more than 4,400 acres. The end result will be ongoing development that will create a new Fraser Valley community and double Mission’s population.
Polygon Homes Ltd., which bought the final pieces of about 3,200 acres of land in Mission with Madison Development Corp. in 2017, has broken ground on its massive master-planned Silverdale project, which will include thousands of homes, a series of retail centres, schools, and transportation linked to the Westcoast Express train that runs into Vancouver.
“Silverdale will eventually have about 40,000 people,” said Stacey Crawford, head of Mission's economic development office. “It will double Mission’s population. It is like building an entirely new city.”
Chris Hartman, vice-president, development at Polygon Homes Ltd., said a 161-unit townhouse project has started the first phase of Silverdale, which covers 1,350 acres. The entire Silverdale site has 2,060 acres dedicated for mixed-use residential and commercial development, with 1,380 acres set aside for green space and parks. Land is also earmarked for a potential commuter rail station, Hartman said.
Cedar Valley, close to Silverdale, is currently under development as a residential enclave, with scores of new homes already built on the 1,020-acre site. An acre of land zoned for multi-family in Cedar Valley sells for around $1.5 million, according to Jag Cheema of Royal Lepage Wheeler Cheam Realty Mission.
The benchmark price of a detached house in Mission is $726,000, up 13% from a year ago, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, but still half the price of a detached house in Metro Vancouver.
Crawford also expects the final steps to be taken this year on the long-awaited and much-debated Mission Waterfront Plan. The plan, finally approved as part of Mission’s official community plan in September 2020, involves 296 acres with three miles of waterfront near downtown. A number of private titles are included in the project and the challenge has been getting all on board with the city’s vision.
Major title holders include a local family that has been approached about the industrial development of its 80 acres of land, and the Mission Raceway Park, which has been in business for 40 years and has no plans on moving.
The district’s waterfront plan envisions a broad range of uses including industrial, commercial, office, recreation, park, marine, “and mixed-use with residential in locations that make the most sense to the community,” according to a district statement.
Crawford believes the landowners will eventually come to realize that working together with the city on a master-planned development will pay dividends. He noted that any site construction would involve every level of government, from BC Transit, the B.C. ministries of highways and the environment to federal fisheries, and railroads, plus floodplain protection.
“We will have an important announcement on the waterfront plan early in 2021,” Crawford said.